this is bbc news. i'm nicholas owen. the headlines at 11pm: at least 58 people are dead after a suspected chemical attack in rebel—held syria. what we understood it was a chemical attack and it came from the air. local reports say a hospital treating the victims was also hit by air strikes. the events have provoked strong criticism around the world. if proven this would be further evidence of the barbarism of the syrian regime. russian investigators say the explosion on the st petersburg metro was the result of a suicide bombing. former london mayor ken livingstone has been suspended from the labour party for a year over controversial comments he made about adolf hitler and zionism. tonight on newsnight, the finger of blame is pointed at the syrian regime after the suspected chemical attack on idlib province. as many as 60 are feared damp with several 100
wounded, but is bashar al—assad free to act with impunity? cash dead. —— dead. good evening and welcome to bbc news. many children are among the victims of a suspected chemical attack on a town in syria. at least 58 people have been killed and hundreds injured. the white house said it was certain that the assad regime was responsible. both syria and its russian allies have denied any involvement. the attack was focused on the rebel—held town of khan sheikhoun in idlib province. the un security council will meet tomorrow in emergency session. this report by our middle east editorjeremy bowen includes distressing images from the beginning. this boy was one of hundreds of victims of the attack, he's showing classic symptoms of poisoning,
perhaps by a military strength nerve agent. the victim's lungs were badly affected. rescue workers did what they could to decontaminate the victims, that includes removing clothes, where the poison can linger, and by spraying fresh water. the attack happened in khan sheikhoun, a town that has been heavily bombed by the regime and by the russians in the last two days. it's in idlib province, which is one of the last rebel strongholds in syria. the hospital was overwhelmed by casualties. translation: all are wounded, some are dead, there are many suffocation cases. we couldn't enter khan sheikhoun city because of the intensive and systematic shelling. there doesn't seem to be much oxygen there, which could have saved more people. translation: i lost my son, my children, my neighbours, my daughter.
they're all gone, i only have god left. this morning it looked just like their chemical attacks in 2013 near damascus. confronted with scenes just like these, president obama threatened military action and then pulled back when syria gave up its chemical weapons. if this latest mayhem was caused by a regime attack, it suggests some chemical weapons were held back. condemnation is coming in from around the world. i'm appalled by the reports that there's been a chemical weapons attack on a town south of idlib, allegedly by the syrian regime. we condemn the use of chemical weapons in all circumstances. if proven, this will be further evidence of the barbarism of the syrian regime. we have understood it was a chemical attack and it came from the air. we will be stimulating all those who have the capacity of finding out
technically what happened. president assad's regime has denied it launched the attack but, if that's not true, what's in it for them? idlib is one of the last rebel strongholds in syria, perhaps someone in the regime thought it was time to increase the pressure. president assad's regime is much stronger than it was when the last big chemical attack happened in 2013. perhaps the way the president faced down american threats back then makes him think he can get away with it again. when local activists were still reporting what happened, the hospital was hit by air strikes. jerry smith supervised the removal of the syrian chemical arsenal after the 2013 attack. everything that they declared left the country, we can absolutely guarantee that.
so the issue then becomes, is this new stuff, if it is indeed a warfare agent. or is it undeclared? what's happened in khan sheikhoun shows, once again, that the syrian war is far from over and the long list of war crimes committed in this war has another entry. jeremy bowen, bbc news. let's speak to justin byworth from the charity world vision uk. he's been at a conference in brussels discussing the situation in syria. good evening to you. what was your reaction when you heard this dreadful news from syria? world, i'm in brussels for a major international conference on syria and we were together with people from the un, from other humanitarian
organisations, from governments, including the british, and when the news came through, a syrian colleague from another agency suddenly flashed up a picture and over the next hour or so we heard news someone over the next hour or so we heard news someone had lost a colleague and also the hospitals were overflowing so there was a sense of shock, we were just in the middle of discussing how to get badly needed humanitarian assistance to more than 5 million syrians who don't have access, who are in besieged or hard to reach areas, we were discussing how to protect them, and for the children, it's been the worst year of the whole conflict. i've been involved in this since the beginning and it is just tragic. involved in this since the beginning and it isjust tragic. what do you think it says about what is going on in the syrian situation? there was oui’ in the syrian situation? there was our correspondentjeremy bowen saying bashar al—assad sees a chance to give a last push, is that the way people there are thinking of this? for any humanitarian agencies like
world vision we are poor and condemn any kind of violence and we are trying to make a difference in that context. trying to make a difference in that co ntext. — — trying to make a difference in that context. —— abhore. but political leaders on all sides and parties have been alleged and found guilty of violence. politicians need to ta ke of violence. politicians need to take the lead for peace in that place, to reach a lasting solution. in the meantime humanitarian agencies need to find a way to work as best as we can. we reached over1 million children last year in and around syria and will continue to do so every around syria and will continue to do so every day to the best of our ability to. but we have also been at risk, querrey to workers have been killed and injured. so it's not an easy situation by any means. just m, easy situation by any means. just in, thanks very much, very grateful to you. —— just in. russian officials say the attack on the st petersburg underground train, which killed 1a people, was carried out by a suicide bomber. the prime suspect has been named
as akbarzhon jalilov, who had russian citizenship but was born in kyrgyzstan. 49 people were injured in the explosion. three days of mourning are taking place in russia. the former mayor of london ken livingstone has been suspended from the labour party for two years for asserting that hitler supported zionism. he has already served one year of the suspension. the national executive committee found him guilty of breaching party rules. mr livingstone said no—one should be suspended for stating the truth. our political correspondent alex forsyth reports. it was comments made on a bbc radio
london view last year that started the controversy. while defending a colleague from allegations of anti—semitism, ken livingstone said this... let's remember when hitler w011 this...
let's remember when hitler won his election in 1932, his policy that you should be moved to is larreal —— jews should be moved to israel, his boy went mad and ended up israel, his boy went mad and ended up killing 1 millionjews. israel, his boy went mad and ended up killing 1 million jews. you're a nazi apologist, rewriting history. some labour colleagues were furious, accusing him of anti—semitism, divisions laid bare with some supporting him. democrats and people in the labour party should resist the attempt to have free speech on israel closed down in the labour party, debate is the essence of democracy. and today mr livingstone stood by his comments. you said
you're not anti—semitic but do you realise your comments and their offence? he said they had been misreported and used to undermine labour's leadership. the home
select committee was... he believed it. that is seven weeks after what i said and even then he didn't know. this is what is so wrong about the fa ke this is what is so wrong about the fake news and the rather crappy level of our media these days. have your comments helped labourcause? level of our media these days. have your comments helped labourcause ?. help anything that tells the truth. —— labour's cause. jeremy corbyn was accused by some of failing to do enough to stamp it out. that's something he has consistently denied, insisting there is no place for anti—semitism within the labour party. but something this decision, a partial suspension, not an expulsion, sends a different
message. it sounds like a revolving door system where you are ok to revive the holocaust, cause pain and anguish to holocaust survivors, sick quality for 12 months and re—emerge asa quality for 12 months and re—emerge as a politicalfigure. quality for 12 months and re—emerge as a political figure. they should have shown ken livingstone the door because if they had done it would have been a golden opportunity for the labour party and its leadership to send a clear message that labour is genuinely opposed to anti—semitism. is genuinely opposed to anti-semitism. so his immediate future may be decided but the debate rumbles on. tonight's decision unlikely to end what has been a difficult and divisive issue for labour. alex forsyth, bbc news, westminster. a couple from craigavon in county armagh have been jailed for holding a woman captive for years and sexually abusing her.
keith baker was sentenced to 15 years, his wife caroline to three years. the police officer who led the investigation described it as the ‘most depraved crime' he'd ever encountered. a child is in hospital with life—threatening injuries after being bitten by a dog in kent. two people have been arrested following the incident in thejenkins dale area of chatham on tuesday evening. the child is in a critical condition in a london hospital, and the dog was shot dead. a kent hospital is making contingency plans to cope if agency doctors refuse to work later this week in a row over changes to their tax that could see their take home pay cut by 20%. the bbc has seen a document drawn up by medical staff at the queen elizabeth, the queen mother hospital in margate, which could see major changes. helen catt has this exclusive report. locum doctors paid by the shift are vital to keeping many a&e departments running. but from thursday, it's feared many are set to stay at home in a row over tax rules. bbc south east understands that at least one kent hospital, at the queen elizabeth and queen mother in margate, has already arranged its rotas in anticipation. i think anything that
takes pay away from locums at the moment is bad. we need to support all of them at the moment, because otherwise services are going to be unsafe for patients and we cannot have that. government rule changes mean locums will have to pay more money in tax, seeing their take—home pay fall overnight. we understand some are asking hospitals to up their rates to make up the difference, which many can't do. south thanet mp and chartered accountant craig mckinlay believes any stay at home will be short lived though. there is no other provider out there that will be buying their services. we have to live in the real world. it simply is not going to happen and i will be fighting against anything that is going to upset services at qeqm. bbc south east understands that the qeqm has rejected some of the measures drawn up by staff to deal with the shortage of locums. in a statement the trust said: as for paying more money, a new rate of £75 per hour has
been mooted for locums, an increase of more than 10%. the deputy chief executive of east kent hospitals told us it is considering the local rate, but has not yet agreed one. helen catt, bbc south—east today. a minute's silence has been held at charlton athletic football ground in memory of pc keith palmer, the policeman who was killed in the westminster terror attack two weeks ago. the match against mk dons was dedicated to the memory of the 48—year—old officer, who was killed in the westminster terror attack last month. pc palmer was a lifelong fan of charlton athletic. now on bbc news kirsty wark with newsnight. i should warn you that the programme includes distressing images. the finger of blame is pointed at bashir al assad for a suspected chemical weapons attack on the syrian opposition town
in idlib killing more than 50 people. with russia on his side and the white house stating that defeating is, not regime change in syria, is their aim, we'll ask obama's chemical weapons expert — who can stop assad? also tonight, ken livingstone is suspended from holding office in the labour party for two years for stating that hitler supported zionism. what's he got to say about that and his punnishment tonight? and... you 0k? ow! 0k. don't. freak. out. and, are fans of marvel comic books resistant to change? it's 1960s spiderman versus 2011 spiderman. does diversity deliver sales?